Anvil - One and Only art

Anvil – One and Only (Album Review)

Anvil 2024 photo

Through the years there have been Heavy Metal bands which have come and gone, but few have been as relentless as Anvil. With a history that dates back nearly five decades, labeling them relentless is done so with utter affection, because while Anvil are a band that is highly influential, arguably, they do not get the rightful credit deserved.

Looking back, Anvil recorded some really impressive Metal records in the genre’s early years; like 1981’s Hard ‘n’ Heavy, 1982’s Metal on Metal, plus 1983’s Forged in Fire. Just naming a few must-listen albums, these in particular have stood the test of time, however in spite of such, Anvil never has truly received the mainstream adulation as some others. A very curious case, some may say it was due to uneven label support over the decades, among other contributing factors, but the one thing you can say is that in spite of it all Anvil has clawed, bitten, and fought to stay alive.

Truly a case of doing everything for the love of music, in case you are looking for more introspective insight about their journey, it is highly recommended to revisit the 2008 documentary film Anvil! The Story Of Anvil. A film which could be looked at as a turning point in the world of Anvil, because it actually ignited some interest from a new generation of Metal lovers, over the last fifteen plus years since, the band have remained prolific as ever with new music, as well as bigger tours. Forever and always led by Steve “Lips” Kudlow on guitars/vocals, along with lifelong friend Robb “Robbo” Reiner on drums, now in 2024 they return with the album One and Only. A follow up to 2022’s Impact in Imminent, set for release on June 28th through AFM Records, One and Only is a landmark in many facets of the word. For starters, it is their 20th overall studio album! An accomplishment within itself, it is also a bold moment, because Anvil opted to strip back some layers for an even more straight-forward Rock-n-Roll sound. No, Anvil has shed their Metal armor, but One and Only sees them step back a bit from the speedier or Thrash elements, and concentrate more on a Rock kind of groove.

Something that may have some long-time followers curious about the stylistic shift, once they give One and Only a listen, they will see it really works quite well. Feeling like the band (Lips, Robbo, and Bassist Chris Robertson) came together and just jammed out these tunes, the heavy elements are still ever present, along with their unmistakable grit and spit. That being said, the lyrical approach on this album cuts through all the noise in a sincere attempt to tell it like it is. Always known to be real and shooting straight from the heart, Anvil’s One and Only fits a theme of – this is what I see unfolding around me, here is what I think of it all… and you can take it or leave it.

Refreshing to hear, some of the biggest winners of twelve tracks that make up the album have to include “Fight for Your Rights,” “Truth is Dying,” “World of Fools,” and “Condemned Liberty.” Pretty self explanatory in their titles, each of these pulls no punches in spelling out the absolute hypocrisy, deceit, and orchestrated divisiveness we are all experiencing in present day society. Contextually something that will get you revved up, what is really cool is that Anvil is also coming from a positive place too; because they have songs which implore you to blaze your own path, live your life to the fullest, and by god do some good while you are here! You can feel this within songs such as the title-track, but also “Feed Your Fantasy.” Although, if you are looking for some great, more pure melodic Heavy Metal, you also can turn to “Gold and Diamonds,” as well as the blistering closer “Blind Rage.”

Overall, One and Only is a well-rounded Heavy Metal mixed with straight-up Rock-n-Roll type of album. Anvil proves themselves to be as real as real can be and it is that type of genuine spirit that gives you hope in dark times. That is why Cryptic Rock gives One and Only 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Anvil - One and Only album
Anvil – One and Only / AFM Records (2024)

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